REMINDERS of one of the worst floods in recent years will soon be gone as efforts to remove thousands of sandbags from a Hampshire village resumes.

A programme to remove sandbags placed by the military around Romsey at the height of February’s floods will start on Saturday as part the second stage of the collection effort.

A team of staff from Test Valley Borough Council will work in the vicinity of Rivermead Close, Riverside Gardens and Mill Lane as part of the week-long scheme.

It comes after the council successfully completed the first phase of collecting unwanted sandbags across the borough.

As reported by the Daily Echo, 80,000 sandbags were distributed across Test Valley by the army and the navy to stop the River Test from flooding and save hundreds of homes.

People living in Budds Lane were forced to evacuate their homes while Greatbridge Road, a major link in and out of the town, was closed.

Now the threat has receded, the third recovery phase will be undertaken by the Environment Agency, which will see the removal of the cat flap structure at the head of the Fishlake Meadows stream, repair branches in the bank of the barge canal, and removal of sandbags.

Residents can store uncontaminated bags for future use or dig the sand into soil.

The borough council says empty sandbags can be disposed of in household waste black bins.

Borough council leader Councillor Ian Carr said: “It was a massive, round-the- clock operation to deploy thousands of sandbags to residents and businesses across Test Valley.

“I am pleased that we have managed to complete the first phase of the sandbag recovery programme to time. This clears the way for us to commence the second phase.

“The second phase will see borough council staff removing the sandbags placed by the military to alleviate the risk of flooding to properties in Romsey.

“It was a huge task to deploy the sandbags in such large quantities and it will be equally challenging to remove them and clean-up the area.

“I am grateful to residents for their patience during the clean-up operation, which will see numerous staff working in the area and several daily vehicle movements.”